The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) earned more money from its male equivalent reaching the knockout stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar than it did from winning its own tournaments in 2015 and 2019.
As a result of the equal pay agreement forged earlier this year between the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the United States Women’s National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association (USNSTPA), the men and women’s teams split all World Cup earnings.
Under the landmark agreement, US Soccer became “the first Federation in the world to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money” awarded to the teams for participating in World Cups.
“This is a truly historic moment,” US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said in a statement in May. “These agreements have changed the game forever here in the United States and have the potential to change the game around the world.”
FIFA’s website details the prize fund for this men’s 2022 tournament, stating that teams who finish between ninth and 16th – i.e. those who are defeated in the first round of the knockout stages – earn $13 million per team.
That means the USWNT will earn $6.5 million for the US Men’s National Team’s (USMNT) exploits thus far in Qatar. If the team defeats the Netherlands in the round of 16 and reaches the quarterfinals or beyond, that figure will continue to increase.
In contrast, the USWNT earned $6 million in total for its successive World Cup wins in 2015 and 2019 – $2 million in 2015 and $4 million in 2019.
The 2019 Women’s World Cup total prize money was $30 million, doubled from the $15 million in 2015.
The US jcocer equal pay agreement means the USMNT will pick up half of the USWNT’s prize money in the future.
Meanwhile, at the men’s World Cup this year, the winner of the tournament will get $42 million and the total prize money is $440 million – over 14 times as much as the women’s edition of the tournament.
“FIFA has always treated the women’s World Cup as an afterthought, which is a big reason why equal-pay deals like the one struck between the USMNT and USWNT are so important,” wrote sports reporter Lindsay Gibbs in her newsletter “PowerPlays.”
“They put more pressure on FIFA to invest in the women’s game, because now the lack of resources given to the women directly impact the men, too. Solidarity truly does matter.”
She added: “It’s beyond time for FIFA to step up and treat women’s soccer like the money-maker we know it can be. Until then, we’ll celebrate the wins along the way, like finally achieving true pay equality in U.S. Soccer.”
The USMNT plays the Netherlands on Saturday in its last-16 match having finished second in Group B.